User:Deckdeck21/SMH links compiled to circumvent pending pay wall

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tim Bennett, an internet activist, compiled and released a database of more than 300-thousand links posted on the Sydney Morning Herald website since 2002. It took him six hours of work over two nights to process the data and release the Excel spreadsheet this morning at Twitter.

Bennett's work was carried out with the intent of keeping information about the public, public. He aims to oppose the closed communities becoming more prevalent on the internet.

"The upcoming pay wall may close off this avenue of research to people without resources," Mr Bennett said. "This may be the last chance to do some."

The data was publicly available to domestic users but international users had had to pay for access since March this year. The domestic pay wall would go up later this year.

Bennett hopes that someone with sufficient technical ability will make use of the links.

Ted Mitew, a communications and technologies researcher at the University of Wollongong, said Bennett should have been applauded for his action, "The subjective value of the content is entirely in the hands of the community – that is precisely why access to it should be public. I view this as a public service essentially - overcoming artificial scarcity barriers in the name of a delivering a public good."

The Sydney Morning Herald was approached but didn't reply to comment.